Falling vs. Flying: just a matter of vision

Sam Diellor Luani, indie post-modern author, brought up how perspective colors whether you believe you are flying or falling – that depending on where you are in the atmosphere, your perspective could be completely different.

What a marvelous concept.

Lately, I seem to vacillate between believing I am floundering or flourishing. I go through these extreme poles of thinking. I have had a difficult past couple of days, but if you read my last blog entry, “Flourishing”, you would see that I was thinking of how far I would get. How different things would be.

I don’t want to inflate my blog with false promises, nor do I want this blog to become a diary, but I think sometimes, like Sam Diellor Luani stated it’s difficult to tell if you’re falling or flying.

I have said before I understand how Icarus felt – the sensation of soaring close to the sun only to plummet to the depths of the sea. But what if it wasn’t falling but just flying in a different way? Perhaps it is all variant, depending on where you are in the atmosphere.

I’m determined. I’m determined to see success, even if initially it feels as though I’m falling into an ocean after my wax-and-feather wings began to melt.

Flourishing

"if they woke at their wake
they might not recognize that woman
in the front making all that noise."

-from “waiting on you to die so I can be myself”, Danez Smith.

For so many years, I’ve figuratively tossed and turned the idea of displaying my authentic self to the public. For too long, I have feared what people would think of me. During my childhood, I was raised to be a people-pleaser. Any time I showed my real self, I was shunned, teased, laughed at, or stifled.

As I grew older, I found partners who I changed myself for, whether it was the metalhead who liked it when I spiked my pixie cut with gel and wore black boots with mini skirts or the stoner who didn’t care what I wore as long as I smoked a joint with him and wore the hemp chokers he made me.

A few years ago, I met someone who encouraged me to be the realest version of myself. He told me what he saw in me and encouraged me to chase that idealized version of myself – the artist with paint on her hands and lyrics on her soul, the girl with eyes bright and sparkling. He encouraged all aspects of me: my screaming emotions, my fiery passions, poet, artist, tarot card reader, whoever I wanted to be.

He taught me to accept myself. To treat myself like I treat my best friends. “To delight the dreamers when they see you,” he had said.

I have learned about surrounding yourself with people who love the authentic you. That’s how you will be successful, regardless of what’s in your bank account or what’s written on your resume.

I mentioned on social media that I have a new outlook. I am no longer waiting on others to die so I can be myself. I’m ready to flourish. I’m ready to be my favorite version of myself.

Hiatus

I have taken some time away from writing to go on a small vacation. I traveled about fourteen hours from home to get to the Atlantic Ocean. I immersed myself in healing and relaxation. I didn’t think about my novels, my chapbooks, or any of my writing projects.

I watched the sun rise, smelled the brine of the ocean, and threw myself in the world if vacation. It was a much-needed break from everything. The day before I left, I had a two-hour phone call with my brother.

He and I discussed many things, and even without using the language I have been with my therapist (flourishing vs. languishing), he told me if I made the decision that my head and heart knew were right, I’d flourish. I would discover myself more deeply. My art would improve. My writing would be less timid. I would begin a life that didn’t revolve around seeking approval and apologizing for my existence. The bonds of shame would shatter.

Simply put, my life would become my own again.

This is exactly what I have been desiring. I had an opportunity to start fresh. I told myself I wouldn’t look at my writing until I was home. Okay, so on that part, I fibbed a little, but I am refreshed and looking at things with new eyes.

Thus, the hiatus – but I’m back and ready to pierce a vein and watch calligraphy spill on the page.

PS: The publisher who is releasing my chapbook announced me as one of their poets!

Genre

I have been struggling with coming up with an apt genre for my novel for a long time now. This has been a novel that has been on my brain for seventeen years now, and I’m finally seeing progress on. I am in the last stage of revisions before sending it off to agents, but for so long, I have debated what the genre was: slipstream, urban fantasy, magical realism, contemporary fantasy, speculative fiction. Eventually, I just gave up and decided it was its own genre: dream fiction. Imagine my delight when tonight, unexpectedly, I discovered a pair of new genres that I had not heard of that seem to fit the tone and themes of my book: dreampunk and transrealism.

According to the website “What is Dreampunk“, “dreampunk fiction often makes use of surreal imagery, esoteric symbolism, dream logic (which may not be entirely logical), dream-related technology, false/subjective realities, shamanism, and Jungian psychology.” While my debut novel doesn’t feature all of these characteristics, it displays some of them, enough so, that I feel confident enough to call it a dreampunk novel.

Transrealism, as described by this article by The Guardian, “creates a detailed and realistic depiction of American high-school life will then shatter it open..” The article further posits “through this realist tapestry, the author threads a singular, impossibly fantastic idea, often one drawn from the playbook of science fiction, fantasy and horror.”

So, I would say, based on those definitions, my debut novel (and perhaps other works-in-progress) could be described as either dreampunk or transrealism.

This is an exciting moment for me as an author to finally have narrowed down the genre of my works so that when I pitch it to agents and publishers, I can finally explain where my books will fit in on shelves at my favorite bookstores!

What is my debut novel about?

Glad you asked.


One September morning in the city of New Amhurst, Aisling McHale wakes up and discovers something strange. A necklace her dead mother had given in a nightmare has shattered through the barrier of her dreams and into the waking world. The curtain between the two realms is lifted, dragging them into war and threatening to destroy everything she knows.

Choices that will forever change her destiny confront her. Demands are made. She must salvage the last few meaningful relationships she has left or surrender to this new world of strange dreams and grotesque nightmares.

As Aisling continues to disconnect from reality and succumbs to the lure of this alternate universe, will she prevail? Will she be able to save everything she cares for or will it all perish in the hellish apocalypse her nightmares leave behind?*

*This is a working blurb, and it may be changed or revised at any time.

Spoken Word Poetry/The Corpses of Unsaid Things


“The Corpses of Unsaid Things” is live on my Instagram page. I have been toying with the idea of releasing my reading of poems; instead of merely doing a couple of video montages with an overlay of my reading, I wanted to develop the bravery of facing the camera while reading my poems.

This is my first time doing such a thing, and while I know I was extremely uncomfortable, and it is not an amazing performance, I am proud of taking this as an opportunity to attempt to face the camera (flaws, blemishes, and all) and share my words.

Usually, I cower when someone is reading my writing. It could be fiction, and I would still hide or pace when someone’s reading. I only ever had one reader I sat still for, and that was because I trusted him completely with my heart.

But now, I am so frightened about sharing my poetry as stated in “Fears and Submitting a Poem”, yet I am doing what I can to conquer that fear.

So, if I have any friends who are authors, spoken word poets, poets, public speakers, can you give me some tips? I would love to learn from y’all on how not to be afraid when reading your stuff out loud!

Thanks in advance, but also, thanks for listening!

(Also, please, let me know what you think of the poem “The Corpses of Unsaid Things”.)

Fears & Submitting a Poem

For years, I have been subscribed to and watching videos of spoken word poems from a poetry publisher based out of Minnesota. Their poets never fail to make goosebumps prickle up and down my arms. Not only is it because of the language they employ and the metaphors they utilize, but the way these poets perform their poetry is nothing short of an art form. I interviewed a spoken word poet on my blog for Global Poetry Month (Poetry Spotlight on: Carlene Gist), but now, here is my opportunity to be a spoken word poet. I have read my poetry before, but spoken word poets have a different way of wielding their words. They emote their poetry. My personal favorite line from a poem I wrote is the very line I use as a headline for my social media and my blog:

Pierce a vein and watch calligraphy spill on the page.

These poets do not just spew lines like that haphazardly; no, they actually prick a vein on stage with razor-sharp words and raw emotion floods out. This is what I aspire to do with my poems: craft something raw, something that shears through emotions, and oozes the heart of what I’m feeling.

So, I am combing through my poems, trying to find the perfect one to put to video for this submission.

A couple of years ago, after my muse whispered in my ear that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to, and so, I braved my fears, quieted the demons, and submitted a chapbook to Button Poetry. It wasn’t accepted, but I was proud of myself for putting myself on the chopping block like that.

I think it’s possible to get too comfortable in your comfort zone.

What do I mean by that?

If you get too comfortable, that means you aren’t doing anything that scares you, and I think it’s important to do things that scare you. Those can be the things that make you feel alive. Sometimes, being too comfortable can feel like slowly being smothered by a pillow.

So, sometimes, I like doing things to shake it up a little.

Therefore, I am challenging myself to record a poetry video and submit it to this contest…because change is scary, but not changing at all is even scarier.

Dream Series

I have been writing about my dreams here recently, and this morning, I jotted one down to share when something my best friend told me struck me: “No one wants to hear about other people’s dreams. They’re boring and nonlinear and make no sense.”

On rereading the dream I had written this morning, I saw his point: my dreams are boring. Aside from the ones I have that feel more like visions, my dreams are generally only interesting to me.

That being said, I will be discontinuing my dream series.

Publishing News

Hey, y’all!

Because I’m a giant silly-head, I’m not sure how many of you saw my very exciting news, but I just received a publishing contract with a small charity press.

I am in the process of organizing some of my poems into a chapbook as our initial release.

So, if you’re a fan of my poetry, keep checking this blog because I’ll make an announcement when and where it’s available.

(If you already saw this announcement, please feel free to ignore it. I’m just so thrilled I couldn’t help but mention it again, in case you missed it.)

Mother’s Day Part II

I wrote a handful of poems (and countless letters) while pregnant. I have decided to share a couple that I feel comfortable sharing here. I have also written and published a poem about the boys I birthed in the collection “Under a Blushing Sky”.


Baby.
Little Mister.
My miracle.
(Never an accident, never a mistake,
an unexpected twist
of fate,
but the road of life
is always circuitous,
always winding.)

“Is it a boy or a girl?”
your daddy asked.
Before I knew,
we guessed
you to be a boy.
(Who knew we’d be right?)

We cried over you
so many nights
(never an accident,
never a mistake,
always a miracle).

We love you with such strength,
such ferocity.

We’re in love
with you
since Day 1,
since the test came back
saying “yes”,
since the first ultrasound
where we looked at your tiny little toes
and studied your tiny little fingers
and watched
(scrutinized) your tiny little wave.


(Your silly little wave I now emulate
to your daddy
to make him chuckle-
hand plastered to your tiny little forehead,
tiny little fingers poking out and wiggling.)

The technician said,
“It looks like he’s trying
to give you the Loser sign.”
(Your index finger and thumb in the shape of an L
on your forehead.)

I said,
“That’s his daddy in him,”
and laughed a little bit.

I’d be lying
if I didn’t say
I cried a little bit
too.
Little Mister.

I’d be lying
if I didn’t say
I’m crying.
I’m crying
a lot
right now.

Daddy and I talked
to you.
I wrote you letters.
(Daddy used to laugh
because I wanted to make a plaster
of my stomach
and have you crawl into it
for pictures-
a baby in a bowl.
I wanted to paint it with you
eventually.)

Daddy held me
and held underneath my big tummy
(big with you)


like it was a prize
in a Cracker Jack box.
He’d hold you and talk to you.

Just know we’ve loved you all along.


“Upon Seeing You for the First Time”

Upon seeing you,
I know my heart will skip a beat.
Upon seeing you,
I know my heart will grow weak.
I fell in love
with you
from the start.
(Your hand cupped around my lone finger,
your eyes staring beseechingly
into my own.)

Some days,
I go through these photographs we took
and laugh.
Some days,
I cry.

I can’t believe how much
I miss you.